Knowing that your home has mold damage can feel like the kiss of death for a homeowner, especially if they are attempting to sell their home. This can be a huge issue for a homeowner and can feel as if they will not sell their home. The first question on many homeowner’s minds is how much is their home worth, or how much did the value decrease because of the mold? Do not despair, there are still things that a homeowner can do that will ensure that they receive most of their home value, even with the inconvenience of mold.
Let’s just be honest, not many buyers will want to buy a home with mold in it whenever the market is saturated with other homes who do not have this issue. Not only does mold in a home look unclean, but it can cause a variety of other health problems, especially respiratory issues. According to Valerie Kalfrin, “A study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that 21% of the 21.8 million asthma cases in the U.S. can be attributed to exposure to dampness and mold”. These things may make a home buyer want to avoid your home at all costs to not have the added stress of having to get rid of a mold issue before moving into the property. Then there comes the issue of financing for potential buyers. Whenever a home is not up to par with a certain condition, mortgage institutions will not be willing to finance a home with these issues, but there are things that a homeowner can do to increase the value of the home or at least stop the value from decreasing so much due to mold in the home.
The first step in helping retain your home’s value in the wake of a mold problem is knowing how serious the problem is so you can either address the problem or inform potential home buyers of the issue on an informed basis. Since mold is just the general term for any sort of fungi, there are multiple types with different degrees of severity and multiple solutions. It is likely that all homes have mold spores and cells seeing as it is so prevalent, and it is impossible to remove it all. It is important to know what type of mold it is so that it can be easily removed. This is also important information to know if you are trying to sell the home without first removing the mold so that the homeowner can inform the potential buyers all the information that they know about the issue.
It is important to know where mold thrives so that the homeowner can know the trouble spots in their home. Mold is usually found in the most obvious places, where it is damp and dark. This means that places such as attics, basements, and crawl spaces are obvious mold attractors. Mold also has to have a water source. Even if the water source is just condensation, the water droplets can still grow mold if there is the right condition for it. Even if the mold is removed in this case it can still grow back if the water source is not fixed to where it will not enable mold to grow. This could mean replacing the drywall in this area because it will hold the moisture in, and that can be a pricey process. Knowing where mold is most likely to be can save the homeowner the problem of finding out last minute that there is an issue.
The homeowner does not want to be unaware of a mold issue and then the mold is found out by a home inspector during the appraisal of their home for a sale. That could leave the homeowner in a lurch and have to scramble for a solution. If the homeowner knows that they are going to be putting their home up for sale soon it may be in their best interest to pay out of pocket for inspecting just so they are not caught unaware. This will give them added time in preparation for the sale instead of in the middle of one. The homeowner also needs to be aware of any mold disclosure clauses their state may have to cover all bases and avoid any legal issues that come about. A realtor or lawyer in your state should know what the homeowner is legally required to do in this case.
Finding all the information needed about the mold issue that the home has will help the homeowner decide what the next step is for the home. It depends on two things, the growth of the fungus and the location. Common mold such as little black spots in a moist basement corner on the foundation can be taken care of with bleach to kill the fungus. Finding this on a home inspection may raise concern, but can be taken care of with a small amount of effort so this is the best-case scenario for having mold. But, black mold on a finished basement wall is another issue entirely. This, along with mold in an attic, can indicate that the home has a drainage or ventilation problem that will mean mold will be a reoccurring issue. This will be noticed by an inspector which in turn will either make the homeowner lose the sale of the home or force the homeowner to lower the asking price. The buyer would be in control of if they decide to pursue the sale of the home. One option the homeowner can suggest for the buyer is to get the mold tested to find out what type of mold it is and therefore how to treat it. But, if this will be a reoccurring issue then the homeowner will need to figure out a different long term solution if they are planning to fix the issues before selling the property.
One solution to help retain the value of the home is to hire professionals to fix the mold problem and to document the work that was completed. Valerie Kalfrin states, “A mold remediation specialist removes and cleans mold colonies and excessive mold growth, returning the air humidity in your home to what’s considered normal”. Returning the air humidity in the home to a normal level is important due to moisture causing mold. It is one thing to remove the mold, but the homeowner also needs to remove the causes of mold as best as they can. Mold remediation also includes a lot more than just that including, “…using antifungal and antimicrobial cleaners on hard surfaces; sending removable soft surfaces such as sofa cushions and curtains out for cleaning; and replacing porous surfaces such as drywall. The area also is dried with fans and dehumidifiers, then sealed with plastic and negative air pressure”. (Kalfrin). This can be a costly thing to do dependent on the location of the mold. For crawl spaces, only the homeowner can estimate around $500-$4,000. The price increases for more location where the mold has to be removed from. To remove mold from the air ducts, crawl spaces, walls, and attic will run the homeowner roughly anywhere from $2,000-$6,000. Most companies that do mold removal will provide documentation and a warranty which will help the potential buyers rest assured that the work got done correctly so that they will not have to redo it very soon and that it will be a worry off of them.
Another option the homeowner has when selling their home is to disclose the mold issue and dropping the price of the home to compensate for the buyer having to take care of the mold before they are able to move in. Small issues the homeowner can take care of whenever they are still in the home to try to minimize the issue that the buyers will have. The homeowner can also attempt to sell the home as-is to an investor. Normally, investors will purchase homes for cash in any condition. This also eliminates the need for bank or mortgage institution involvement meaning if the home is not in good enough condition to be approved for a loan, the home can still be purchased. The homeowner does need to expect that the asking price will need to be lowered for the work that will need to be put into the home with either of these options.
Your home still has value, mold in the home does not negate that. There is no way to put an exact price on what the home is worth with mold damage, but that is because there are many variables such as where the home is located if it has any other issues, and what the buyer is willing to pay for the home. Attempting to sell a home with mold damage will be more challenging than other homes on the market, but if the price is comparable for the work that has to be completed or if the homeowner is willing to put the work into fixing the mold damage, they are sure to get a price for the home which they agree is fair!
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